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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  October 15, 2009 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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this helium balloon had been tethered, that one of the children, one of the heene children, 6-year-old falcon, had climbed into the bottom compartment and that somehow this became untethered and started floating away. tamron, as you have been pointing out, one of the children ran inside, told the father what had happened, and thus began an effort by first the sheriff and then the faa to first try to track this device. it flew from ft. collins in the south-southeast, passing fairly close by denver international airport. at times it got up to 10,000 feet and then dropped down to 8,000. there were times it appeared that the device was spinning pretty sharply and, again, combined with the materials, the cardboard materials there at the bottom, it's unclear, of course, what may have happened to the boy had he been inside and the assumption was that he was inside from the beginning. >> right. >> at the end after about two hours as we have been showing, this thing came to a much softer
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landing near hudson, colorado. much softer than a lot of people had feared. dropped very quickly from about 8,000 to about 1,000 and came down and people landed -- when it landed, people, rescue officials came over and immediately were able to determine that the boy was not inside. tamron, at this point police are now -- as far as we understand, going back and reinterviewing the heene family, trying to understand exactly what this device was supposed to look like if in fact it did come apart, which part came off? was it intact or not when it was tethered? how quickly could it have -- could part of it have come apart? how much force was required? and also as a matter of jurisprudence and also being careful, just to reinterview the family to be sure this isn't some sort of hoax. >> yeah, david, for that reason something as simple as what he was wearing, because we were so focused on the helium aircraft and believing that the child was
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in there, they couldn't answer what he was wearing. so now you've got to do that investigative work going back to back, asking the questions at the time quite honestly were not the focus because of the eyewitness account from the boy and the family that falcon was inside there. so now they've got to get all of the details, including something as simple as what he was wearing when he was last seen by his parents. >> we should also point out great credit to the authorities in colorado, the faa was able to identify the position of this helium balloon because in part the reports and local news station helicopters that were following it and they literally had the police and ambulances and fire department on the roads underneath it. so after it came down, they got to it literally just seconds after it landed. incredible work by authorities there in colorado to try to track this thing. unfortunately, the big disappointment for everybody is that when they finally were able to open the compartment, the boy was not there. >> yeah. it's interesting, i'm reading
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through this script from this reality show the family participated in, just getting a glimpse of at least how they presented themselves on this show. and they see themselves as just another adventure family and they were into science and technology and they decided to participate in this "wife swap" show with another family, a safety conscious connecticut family with a childproofing business, and the dynamic being the heene family are adventurers who had the spirit of independence and trying to explore versus this family very conservative and the idea, of course, was to "wife swap" there, the two wives. but the family identified as the heene family, richard, bradford, rio and falcon are the family that we are following and trying it get more details as they struggle with what has to be, david, as you pointed out absolutely heartbreak not knowing where this 6-year-old boy is right now. their child.
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>> just to be clear, if anybody had any questions, "wife swap," a program on abc, is as it sounds. the website says, families are swapping wives right now for a whole new season of "wife swap" on abc. it's not just trading responsibilities. one would assume it's more than that. >> i guess they do this for two weeks. the family swaps moms and they live their lives taped by camera, and they call it a fish out of water reality show, aims to show the differences in the families. so they are obviously an outgoing family. you don't get shrinki ining vio on reality show programs. >> and we have been talking about the investigation into ft. collins and to try to understand what this craft was originally supposed to look like and whether what blended, how that matched up and what details they may have been able to provide. let's go to leanne gregg in
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denver. what do you have? >> hi, david, we know this contraption looked a lot like a spaceship. that's what it was described as. earlier this morning as you know the little boy got inside and they thought that this aircraft was tethered to the ground. apparently, it wasn't and he floated away on an unintended 2 1/2 hours ride. eventually the helium leaked out of the aircraft. it landed somewhere on the eastern plains. again, 2 1/2 hours away from his home, at one point flying as high as 10,000 feet. it made a picture-perfect landing. emergency crews rushed in. as you know, they found nothing. they were perplexed, confused at what they did not find. so now the question is, what happened to the little boy? police right now are heading to a location where someone thought they saw something fall off of the aircraft. david? >> and leanne, we're going to obviously stay away from that until we get more confirmation. i'm wondering if you can take us a little bit behind -- the
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police said or the sheriff said on camera they did believe that the boy had been or was in this contraption. do we have any information, any more information as to what led them to believe that? was it based solely on the representations from the family? was it based on the representations of the brother? was led them to state so categorically that the boy was there? >> well, they believed that the brother, older brother said that he saw his younger brother climb inside, the 6-year-old, and that's what they are basing it on. the family since then has searched their home, the family home, and the property nearby and they can't find him. that has led him to believe that he must have gotten inside. >> and fair to say then, the police are 100% certain, and they're convinced this is not a hoax, this is something -- this is a terrible tragedy that this incident happened in the first place? >> that's fair to say. unless by some miracle they didn't find him around the house. maybe he is somewhere else, but it's not looking very good at this point. >> with that said, do we know if
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they've blocked off that neighborhood, if they started searching the backyard of neighbors in and around the home? >> they are searching -- continuing to search in and around the home. i don't know if they blocked off any neighborhoods. ft. collins, of course, is north of denver, about an hour and a half of here. i'm sure they're doing everything they can to exhaust publ all possibilities, trying to figure out what happened to the little guy. >> timewise, leanne, can you tell us from when authorities first sounded the alarm and they were searching for this boy and the family discovered it, that he may be missing? >> the boy drifted away and immediately the family called for help. the faa was called, the national guard was called and emergency crews on the ground. so it didn't take very long afterwards until emergency crews were able to see the plane -- or rather the makeshift plane, what do you call it, experimental plane, from the ground. so they ran along with it and
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tracked it visually. and helicopters were also in the air tracking it. so again, 2 1/2 hour ordeal that just ended a few moments ago and now even more questions. >> leanne, since you're familiar with denver, i wonder if you can describe for our audience, you mentioned ft. collins, about an hour and a half north of denver, 70, 80 miles, describe sort of the population between ft. collins and denver, and assuming this took the path we're showing on our map south of southeast, what sort of populated areas are we talking about? are we talking about an area where people were tracking this themselves from the ground might have been in position to see it? >> well, there are some cities between here, smaller cities. also, there's a lot of plains area, eastern plains. so there are some possibilities he could have landed safely on the ground if in fact he was inside and somehow toppled out. but we just don't know. a lot of that depends on how
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high the aircraft was flying if, in fact, he did fall out. there's so many questions we just don't know. some of the areas again, there's a city called windsor that has a population of, what, shane, what would you say the county of windsor? >> about 50 miles north. >> about 50 miles north with a sizable population. but, again, a lot of remote areas between here and there. >> why don't you describe the scene inside denver in terms of what it's been like with local television stations and radio and how this has really captured the attention of the city today. >> well, it's such an extraordinary story. at first, of course, everyone thought it was a hoax. how could this possibly be? but then we realized that this was a serious story, and potentially extremely dangerous. so it's just unfolded from there. quite a frenzy calls from all around the country, all around the world. people interested in what happened to this little boy. the neighbors described the family. they say they're an unusual
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family, but very nice people. they describe them as scientists, as people who are stormchasers, as inventors, and, again, the family said they never intended for anyone to fly in this makeshift -- makeshift aircraft. so they are devastated. >> nbc's leanne gregg reporting live from denver. thank you very much. we will let you go back and gather more information. tamron, again, it feels like the big question out there right now is what are the authorities hearing from the father particularly about this craft? what did it took like when it was tethered compared to what they found? what does that tell us about what might have happened during the flight? >> david, we're watching, we have video coming in of activity happening in front of the home. it is mostly what i'm seeing here cameramen in and around. i have not seen anyone going in or out of the home here. i'm curious, as i'm sure our
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audience is, just a search in and around the areas. as a reporter for many years, i have done a couple of stories where children were believed to be hiding and they have been located at another place, scared or afraid that they may get in trouble. so i think there are two searches quite honestly. is there something missing or did something fall off that aircraft? or if this child is somewhere hiding in this neighborhood. keep in mind, it was an older brother who witnessed this. and working to get more information on what they're doing to at least search the area in and around the family's home. >> yeah. tamron, i got to believe that neighbors and friends, that the word has gone out, that if that's the case, and we all pray that it is the case that the boy simply ran away and his brother was embarrassed or whatever, that friends and family are telling falcon, look, it's okay. don't worry. just tell everybody you're safe and this is going to be fine. >> it's an open investigation right now. we quite honestly have not heard anything from authorities since the news conference that took place in front of the family's home. this is when the helium balloon
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was still floating through the air. since that moment, we've not heard anything from them. so that certainly raises eye bows on what they're doing, what kind of questions they are asking. again, i have not seen anyone go in or out of the family's home as there are a number of cameras stationed out front of their home. now i see an individual coming out of the home right now. so we're working to get more details. they've searched the family's home, david. we know that. as you pointed out, by now with so much video of the -- this is the home right now. with so much video being shown of this aircraft, richard heene, the father, would likely know about now if this image that we see very closely is missing a part of an aircraft or contraption that he personally put together. >> and tamron, i'm going to ask our producers if they can recue the news conferences you were talking about earlier from the sheriff of larimer county.
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they were asking if they knew if the boy was bored. so we will replay that so people can understand the mood a couple hours ago before this thing added, yes, this boy was definitely on board this contraption when it got untethered. and we will play that again in a few minutes. we are waiting for another update from the larimore county's sheriff's office. >> we see somebody else, a detective but i don't want to make assumptions, an officer went inside a short time ago. and the reaction so many people had when we watched that aircraft land is just baffling. we're baffled by what is happening now. but the sad part of this story certainly is that the 6-year-old boy, falcon heene, is still missing at this time, david. >> yeah. as we wait -- again, we're going to play that piece of tape from
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a short time ago, from about an hour ago at the sheriff's office when they first made it pretty clear they thought the boy was on board. before we do that, we have brian jones, who is a balloon expert on with us. brian, one of the key questions that i imagine is sort of rippling through balloon enthusiasts and that officials are trying to understand is this sort of dynamic of this thing as it was flying. based on what we saw, we're dealing with helium here, and the way it was twisting and we know it was cardboard, at least the bottom, how sturdy or not sturdy did that make it to you? >> it looked like it had started to deflate somewhat to me. and there's not a lot of structure to that. it looked like it was basically the structural strength was provided by pressure inside. and so if it starts to lose pressure, it's not going to be very stable anymore. >> as far as the basket or the bottom being put together by cardboard, how sturdy or not
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would that sort of contraption be if this thing is spinning and it's going up to 10,000 feet? >> well, in principle cardboard can be pretty strong. i think that would certainly be sufficient to do the load they need to do. but the trick is -- and the trick is that if the balloon expands or it changes shape, the attachment of the basket is going to be awe problem. and if it started out at 5,000 feet and goes up to 10,000 feet, the balloon's fabric is going to stretch quite a bit. so i think it might compromise the attachment points because the balloon's going to be stretching to places where it's presumably taped on are going to be running into some trouble. so i think that, that could be a problem. >> simply we're talking about the science that the pressure essentially causes the fabric to expand as the altitude increases, which then puts more stress on the part of the basket underneath as far as how that's detached to it, is that right? >> exactly, yeah. >> and as far as the -- as far as what you're picking up today,
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have you ever heard or seen of this particular type of helium balloon? or has there been much chatter on the blogs or the websites overtime fast several years about this particular design? >> no, no i haven't seen anything particularly like this. we certainly have a lot of experience launching different kinds of balloons. but i have never seen anything like this before. >> i was curious about how quickly something like this -- i know this is a very unusual aircraft, but how quickly would to get off the ground and get high enough that it would be a danger for the boy to jump out? it was tethered in the backyard of the home. we have not been able to see the backyard but a reporter on the scene said it's a pretty small backyard and there are a number of trees around there from the vantage point i'm seeing here. >> from the numbers that i saw, the size of the craft and the wait of the craft, the buoyant force on it was pretty significantly greater than its
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weight so it might ascend pretty rapidly. we've done things like this befo before, we had stuff go up at a pretty good rate until it reaches terminal speed. it's pretty big, so there's going to be a fair amount of air resistance on it. but i would guess it could quickly reach the speed of several miles per hour headed upwards with the numbers i was seei seeing. >> thank you very much. we will bring in sarah hansen. she's with the ft. collins in colorado. what's the latest? what are authorities saying? >> they're still looking for the boy. he was unfortunately not in the balloon when it landed safely in a recently plowed feel. they are now looking for him. because there were helicopters that had a good vantage point on it as it was traveling, they're looking at a wide area to find out where he might have jumped out or fallen out. >> how certain are they that
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foll falcon was in the aircraft? >> they seem pretty certain because they cannot find him at all. he is about three feet tall, wearing a dark shirt and blue jeans. >> is the only eyewitness falcon's older brother? >> that is my understanding. the parents did not see this thing take out. >> do we know how much time passed of falcon getting in this thing and when he took off and calling authorities? >> it doesn't sound like it's too pretty long. once he realized what was happening, he did contact authorities because they couldn't get it back down themselves. >> this went out for two hours. we watched it play out live. that would mean an incredible amount of space they would have to cover to look for him at this point. give us more details on what you know and how they're trying to put together this search. >> they're trying to figure out, track the root the aircraft took and then right now they're
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looking closer -- possibly closer to home because -- because he was on film for quite a while. no one witnessed him obviously falling out of the balloon at that point. so they're wonder if possibly he -- the basket detached or he fell before it was picked up by the helicopter. >> sarah, i wonder if you can describe what your papers have been able to put together on the family and what you know about them. >> well, we actually know a fair amount about them. far con is t falcon is the youngest son of three. richard and myouni heene. actually, there's a couple of stories about a year ago because october last year they were fear ch featured on the show "wife swap." >> what else about them? there's a lot of stuff on the blogs about their beliefs and things about psychics. is any of that true? how different were -- what were their interests as far as you can tell? >> they were primarily storm
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chasers. that was the big thing we talked about when we did our interview a year ago. so they were trying to instill that sense of adventure into their children, so from that, that will not be surprising that the boy would fall into the helicopter -- i'm sorry, crawl into the balloon. >> let me ask you, there's been questions whether or not parts of the aircraft fell off after you started watching this on live television. as our richard heene indicated to thrtauthorities, a piece was missing that could have been carrying falcon? let me get you to hang on. we're going to listen to an interview with a neighbor in that community right now. >> did you see the craft? >> no, i have not. >> do you know why they had it? >> it may have been because of their storm chasing stuff but i don't know for sure. >> the father is a storm chaser? >> yes. >> what does he do? explain that to me. >> i think it's something he does voluntarily. runs around the state chasing
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storms from time to time. >> for any reason? >> i think maybe he's tried before to put together some things and end up on some kind of tv show with this information and so on. >> can you tell me what the demeanor of everybody was once they realized their kid was on board this? were they running around panicked? were they -- >> i thought so, yes. >> you thought what? >> i thought they were running around. i wasn't sure, like i say at the time, what was going on but there was a lot of panic in the backyard and the mother particularly seemed to be distraught. the father was more in a panic, i suppose. >> have there been any mishaps in the past? >> not that i'm aware of, no. >> have you heard anything beyond them coming down and whether -- >> no, i didn't --
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>> why tflt if the kid was on b? >> actually, as i was driving home, they said something on bbc international about it and they said something about the fact the child was not on board. so that's what i heard. >> what does that leave you to think? >> i -- you know, i hope it doesn't mean he fell out but i suppose it's possible. >> all right. how long -- >> again, that is a neighbor of the heene family, david, out front of the family's home. a number of cameras and we have also seen uniform and it would appear to be investigators there as well. >> tamron, it's one of those times where you just wish somebody would come forward as a neighbor who seemed to know a little more about what they were doing with this contraption and how long it was being built and what was the purpose, and did they ever show it off to the neighbors? those sort of things. >> yeah, the family according to authorities say it was not meant to fly. it was something, a family project. i hate to keep going back to this reality show but in the
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words of richard heene while on that show, he was very into allowing children to be children. he said, quote, they're only going to be 5 once so let them be 5. so they celebrated that spirit of adventure in the home there. so this kind of contraption might be something unusual in our backyard but for this family,ing thfamil family, but this is something they were into. >> and we keep talking about there's nothing wrong with encouraging kids to appreciate science, be interested in physics and all of the things that would be associated with a helium balloon and storm chasing. again, this will be one of the issues that authorities have to try to figure out is, you know, was there piblt -- how is it possible somebody could climb into this and essentially have it become untethered. look, it might have been maybe the kids were fooling around and the father and mother splay been responsible and the kids did something they shouldn't have. you fear the worst.
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again, there's every indication the boy was on this contraption when it became loose, when it got untethered in ft. collins, when it landed 90 miles to the southeast. it appears a piece was missing, the boy was not there. now they're trying to figure out what happened. >> david, in front of the home, and our producers can tell us, it looks like they're giving some kind of update. we've got no audio on it but we're working to get that up and running. you see the reporters there scrambling to write down more details. we hope to get this up and running because this is the same sheriff's official, david, who gave the update about an hour ago. and this is before the helium balloon landed in that open field. working to get that audio up and running. i'm sure this is key information. leanne gregg is standing by. do we know of any information coming out of this update? >> no, tamron, i don't know what's happening up there at this hour. i know best-case scenario and
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what everyone is hoping to report is the little boy will come walking safely out of the backyard or field. but they are still trying to determine if that in fact even is a possibility. of course, there were some reports that there may have been something that fell from the balloon, but, again, that's unconfirmed and police right now are searching that area. they're going through the neighborhoods as well searching to try to see if maybe he never got in, in the first place. >> do we know how much space they're looking at here? this went on for two hours. how many miles can they possibly cover? >> you know, i don't know. we do know he was traveling at some point at about 20 miles an hour. at one point we -- >> we have the news conference up, leanne my. my apology for interrupting you. let listen in. >> that i don't know. >> is there any way to tell whether or not there was someone in there, whether they might have fallen out? >> what it was, it was not a
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basket per se but a box-type thing that was attached to the bottom of the balloon. so there was, i guess -- >> we just lost audio there. >> that was a crucial moment, too. tamron, there she was describing a bomb-like thing that was attached to the bottom there. again, spirit from the video looking at cylindrical, box-type device presuming that's where the box crawled into. hopefully we will get the audio re-established and here what the sheriff's office is saying about all of that. now they know the piece or device that was not connected. we see this news conference still going on. we know early on, this had been an attempt to manufacturer, and they were putting it together in their backyard or home but the parts and pieces came from a
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manufacturer. we are trying to get more details on the makeup of it, what it's supposed to look like. this is one of the earliest images of the aircraft that came in. this is from a neighbor that spotted this, this came in early on through hearing that a boy had been missing, that he had gotten into some sort of early balloon, that was the early word there. as we look there, the witness float through the sky which is that compartment at the bottom. apparently it sounds as if there was another piece attach ed, an that may have been where the 6-year-old got into the aircraft when his brother witnessed it, david. >> i'm wondering if we can ask our producers, if we're able to re-establish contact in front of the news crews in front of the home or if we haven't if anyone can pick up editorially the guidance provided by the
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sheriff's office there? >> it appears to be over. ky see the video, david, and it appears to be oefrver. there are a couple reporters huddled around. we're working to get some kind of detail on what was said. now we know he had on dark clothing early on, wasn't even clear, david, what falcon was wearing. that bit of information is quite honestly the only detail information that we have received since watching this landing, which is very curious. we know they searched the home. they looked around the neighborhood and now they're searching a great distance of land as this went on for two hours. >> and i just want to clarify for our viewers, mini mean, this live television. and sometimes haphazard communications with breaking news. we apologize to our viewers. we are just as frustrated as you are when a signal cuts out or audio cuts out at a key
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employment moment in a news conference. we're working to re-establish what was said about that box-type attachment that was supposed to be part of this balloon or they thought would be part of this balloon but was missing when this was captured by the news crews or helicopters and eventually landed. >> okay. i think, david, do we still have sarah hansen with the ft. collins, colorado with us? sarah, do you know what came out of this press conference at all? i think we've lost sarah as well. david, just to re-establish what's happened here. this is breaking news we have been following now out of ft. collins, colorado, where early reports were that a 6-year-old boy later identified as falcon heene, had climbed into an experimental aircraft is that his father had built for the family's recreational project. the only witness to the child getting inside was his elder brother, and this odyssey of watching this helium aircraft float through the skies of
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colorado for two hours continued, where eventually we saw, david, what was all but perfect landing, especially if there was a child inside. emergency crews were on the scene. we even witnessed a gentleman try to -- out of the air hold or cradle this aircraft to keep it from smashing to the ground. within minutes, the news was that there was no one inside and at this point, there was a search, desperate search for a 6-year-old boy who his family believed was inside this aircraft. david? >> and that, tamron, in fact the associated press but out in their bulletins that authorities are carrying out an intense ground search for a 6-year-old boy that was thought to be in a balloon that floated away from a colorado home. the boy was not in the balloon when it landed and his fate or whereabouts are not immediately clear. i'm going to ask our producers to see if they can track down two pieces of information before this next interview. that is, first of all, any more news that came out of the news conference we lost audio contact with. and also if there's any way to
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turn around that tape if it exists. but in the meantime, let's go to brian jones, who is again an expert on hot air balloons. brian, even though this is a helium balloon, again, you were getting into something when we last talked to you that i thought was pretty interesting, and that was the speed at which this thing might have shot up in the air once it became untethered. managing there's a 6-year-old boy who may anywhere between 60 and 90 pounds, what sort of impact that might have and describe what happens to a balloon and the fabric as the altitude increases? >> i think that the balloon, it sounds like it wasn't designed -- they weren't intending it to lift someone off the ground like this. is that true? >> that's what the family is saying, yes. >> if it's not designed to do that, then if you were going to make a balloon and your intent was to lift something off the ground, you would watch the force of the boy uoyancy to the force of whatever you're trying to lift. but if that wasn't the intent,
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it struck me that the lift force of the balloon was bigger, significantly bigger than the weight. so it would tend to go up rather quickly. and if it goes up quickly, it's going to rapidly go to an area where there's lower pressure. it looks to me like it's illumiill lu alumanized miler on the rope. and it goes less pressure inside than outside and so it looks like that would stretch. so if things are held onto the bottom by tape or some sort of fascinating or something like that, that will cause some issues there. >> brian, based on what you saw, the aluminum myelor both at the top and circular thing underneath, we don't know exactly the box-like attachment to the bottom, description that it was cardboard but not entirely clear how it was fastened, as a balloon expands and it does because of the pressure, explain again the stress that would put on the fasteners underneath?
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>> what will happen as the balloon goes up there will be less pressure inside and less pressure outside so the balloon itself will stretch. so you want to make it very, very light weight. so it's like stretching fabric, it will change shape. as it changes shape, that will put stress on whatever is fastened to it. and typically with something like this, you would fasten things on with whiide strips of tape, which works great. but when the balloon starts to change shape, it can put stresses on those attachment points. >> just so all of our viewers and all of the nonscientists can understand it, the principle is the same if you have a band-aid on your finger and you stretch out your finger, then that band aid becomes much looser and can then slip off. >> yeah. exactly. >> now, as far as the speed with which -- let's just assume that
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the boy was -- was in this thing when it became untethered. how quickly would this thing rise -- rise up to say, i don't know 1,000 feet or high enough to which the boy leaving the balloon would have been a big problem? >> it seemed to me that the upper force on the balloon was pretty big compared to the -- the lift force of the balloon was pretty big compared to the weight of the specifications that i saw, so it could rise pretty quickly. i would think it would start going upwards at a speed of several miles an hour. that would be my quick guess. so it could pretty quickly -- that would be -- it would be going upwards maybe ten feet a second. it could be rising quickly. >> brian, we're getting in new video, david. this is the first we're seeing of what was happening there on the ground. you see that little piece, metal, i think it is, coming
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from the bottom of what we thought was the basket carrying the young boy. to be honest with you, david, i have been online trying to go to our affiliate kusa and any other websites that might be updating the information on what took place in that news conference a short time ago, our team scurrying to get the details of what was said. there was some information passed along. we're hoping to get it to our audience. but this is some of the fresh video of what the bottom compartment that brian was just referring to you and were asking about, attached to the helium balloon. there was what looked like a little trapped door and that's what originally people believed the boy had gone into that little trapped door. this was some of the first video of what it looked like on the ground for law enforcement agencies and emergency workers when they watched the aircraft come to the ground. >> and, brian, your reaction, i don't know if you're near a tv and you can see this, but what we're making in terms of how this thing was constructed and it's difficult to analyze it when you're not there, but the
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other part is back to what you're seeing earlier, if this is rising as quickly as you suggested, that would mean if the boy was going to try to get out as a safe altitude, he would have made that decision literally the first 10 or 15 seconds? >> he would have to make that decision quickly. it could be -- the numbers could be real different. that's just my ballpark estimate. and you're balancing two forces. there's an upper force of the lift and downward force of his weight and they're pretty close to each other. so it could have risen much more slowly than that. in which case he would have had more time. >> brian, let me ask you this. one of the reports said the boy climbed into the access door. we see a door on the bottom compartment, once it landed, lfs there was a flapping door openly. this is an unusual aircraft. very few people have been able to chime in online about ever seeing something like this. would it have two doors if there
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was a seconds attachment? >> oh, gosh, that -- >> i know it's a tough question. >> totally a function of how they chose to do it. you can do that or not do that, depends on what their plans were for it. >> okay. david, that's the report, that there was an access door on the device. we see a door there. you see that metal bar out of the bottom of it. we're assuming that's where the second piece was attached to this. but just looking here online to be honest with you, in this age of fast-moving information, no one is even identifying the manufacturer of this. >> yeah, there's so much about this, tamron, that you would hope the family by now has provided information to investigators, but tamron, i'm told we're going to take a break here and, tamron and i, of course, will be back on the other side. a lot of information we're going to be searching for all of you during the break. and we're going to try to get a beat on what exactly was said by the larimer county's sheriff office. we lost the audio where she was
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talking about a box-like device that should have been attached to the bottom. we will get information on that. there are also a number of reports of a frantic ground search under way between ft. collins and denver. we'll get an update and also see if there's been any more indication from the family as far as what they have told police. you're watching "the big picture." special coverage with tamron hall and i'm david shuster. when it comes to things you care about, leave nothing to chance travelers. insurance for auto, home and business.
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are okay yg out an intense ground search for a 6-year-old boy who was believed to be inside this helium experimental aircraft his family put together. this is the moment involving the soft landing. authorities rushed to the aircraft put -- you see there, holes in it to deflate it, believing at the time that the 6-year-old boy, who's been identified as falcon heene was inside in the undercompartment. after a few minutes of exhaustive work there, they discovered no one, including that 6-year-old boy, was inside. this story has been going on now for about three hours. it started after the family, the heene family, reported that the child and the family witnessed the youngest boy, a 6-year-old, entering an access door of this experimental aircraft. the family apparently very into science. they are weather chasers. and this had been tethered in the family's backyard. today the children, according to reports, were out of school and
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at some point in time two of the family's sons were in the backyard and that's the time line, or at least that's when this turned into a bizarre emergency situation that extended for miles from ft. collins, colorado, to denver and to this open field when we eventually saw the landing and believed perhaps the story was over. but that is not the case at this hour. right now you have a family searching desperately with authorities for a 6-year-old boy. the reports are right now from kusa that the family says there was a second compartment on this experimental aircraft. again, you're watching -- this is the rush to get to this aircraft believing at the time that there was a small boy inside there, who had reached altitudes of 10,000 feet in the air and up and down odyssey, and when they got there, he was not inside. updating you know, again, it is believed that there is a second
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compartment that detached itself. this aircraft, according to authorities, as told to them by the family, was not meant to carry anyone. the children were in the backyard and at some point in time, the 6-year-old got inside. it is unknown and unclear how this tethered aircraft was loosened, and at this point they are looking desperately for a second compartment that is believed to have been the hiding place of 6-year-old falcon heene. the family well known to people and to reality television, and very well known in their community as they are science buffs and were featured on a reality program, the entire family, three boys. this is their photograph there. you even see there some kind of metal project behind them. they're an adventure family. they love the outdoors. and as quoted in this reality program, the father, richard, wanted them to just be boys and experience life. we want you to listen in to the
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moments when authorities discovered that there was not anyone inside. >> anything? >> i'm five feet away from it.
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>> let's move everybody back, guys. >> we need you guys to back up, please. >> i've got some information that i'm not quite sure how to say it, but i don't believe that
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they found anybody with this balloon. they backed off, they punctured holes in it to make it nonflyable at this point, but there's -- there's no basket, and they're not pulling anybody out of it at this point. they are still looking. sorry, i'm a little bit out of breath. i had to run into a dirt field, which was the best landing for it. but at this point, they have not -- they're not pulling any child out of this balloon at this time. they continue -- they lifted it up. what you say was the basket, they have now completely lifted upside down and, again, they have not found any child -- there was no child on board this balloon.
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no, they have looked inside. the officer right now is using his pocket knife to cut the rest of that open. that door -- what you say was a door -- is open at this point. they're cutting the rest of the balloon open at this point. there is no child in this. >> there you have it. you saw the video shot by a local kusa reporter who was discovering there was nobody on board this aircraft. you can hear them initially shouting, it's okay, we're here. and there was no response. and then they open sort of a trapped door connected to the bottom, and you hear them say to each other, it's empty, nobody's inside. and then you get the reaction to the reporter, who was talking to the station, reporting back to the station, that they did not find the child inside. one of the things that's now important, of course, is the family has apparently told local authorities that when you look at the bottom of this sort of solyndcylindrical shape of this
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balloon, that was originally a box connected to it, and that, that box would have been the compartment that the child might have climbed into and the box is missing. so now in addition to searching for any sort of evidence of what happened, there's a frantic search under way in the ft. collins, colorado area and to the south-southeast towards denver international airport, looking for the compartment but also looking for any indication of may have happened to this boy. again, we'll keep everybody posted. we have reporters on the scene back at the home in ft. collins. we'll get an update from there on the other side of this break. i'm david shuster along with tamron hall. our continuing coverage continues after this. you're watching "the big picture." be engineered using nanotechnology to convert plants into components. the first-ever hs hybrid. only from lexus.
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welcome back to "the big picture" on msnbc. a frantic search is under way in the denver, ft. collins area. a young boy had apparently climbed into that home made aerial helium balloon. was not found when the balloon landed. the balloon actually reached heights as high as 10,000 feet. the boy had apparently crawled in as his brother witnessed at their home in ft. collins. the father is a storm chaser. the father was apparently not inside -- was not outside when it happened. the balloon went and traveled the course of nearly 90 miles. in in reached heights of 10,000. can you hear them shouting when they found him. let's listen.
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>> it's on the chart. don't step up and snap it from a distance. >> hey, i'm on the scene. i'm fev feive feet away from it.
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>> we need you guys to back up, please. all right. there so you heard them say it's empty. and there's a reaction. a couple others check. they report back and at this point they know the compartment was empty. the key is that according to the family, the family has told the local larimer sheriff's office and other investigators back in ft. collins that the original design, and as it was tethered, there was a box-like compartment that was actually connected to the bottom, at least earlier today. and so the theory now is that the boy climbed into that box-like compartment and that
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the compartment came loose and that they pried it loose at some point after this thing took off. there is unfortunately, a very serious and very desperate search under way for any sort of indication somewhere over the ft. collins area or as far south of the denver international airport for, first of all, this box or also any signs of the boy. and also, of course, there's still the hope, back in ft. collins, that the boy maybe never really was on board, that this was just some sort of hoax and that he's frightened and he and his brother don't want to say this is all this effort for nothing. but that is just the hope right now, tamron. >> david, we're learning a lot more about how this aircraft was constructed. that is now trying to understand this compartment that could have been housing this boy, falcon, 6-year-old falcon heene. the craft was constructed according to reports of plywood and string. and it was never intended for
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flight. i hate to use the cliche, boys being boys, you will get in the backyard, you're there and perhaps do something that you're not supposed to according to in the father's own records, richard heene, real wlaanted to explore and be adventures. that had been in the family's backyard. we don't know for how long. a couple of the neighbors were interviewed and said they were unfamiliar with the aircraft and quite honestly said they hadn't seen it. but the background of the family really enjoying science and adventure. what you're looking at is something constructed with plywood and a string, which thus easily explains the frailty of it. and if you get a 6-year-old boy in the back, i don't know the weight, it would fall apart. >> tamron, such a roller coaster of an afternoon the last two hours. when the initial reports came in that the boy was on board, the police were convinced that he was, there's such great hope when he made the landing that he did and it seemed a much softer
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landing of every indication, it looked like this thing would keep supplying and might have land at night and land forcefully and dangerously. just a disappointing afternoon. again, tamron, we should point out, there is continues to be a frantic search and a very serious investigation in ft. collins to try to piece together exactly what happened when the father, storm chaser, went inside, two of his three boys were left alone with this. one of them apparently climbed inside and next thing anybody knew, this thing had become untethered and was several thousand feet above the skies of ft. collins. >> exhaustive search happening right now. they have searched the family's home again. they searched the neighborhood. now they are trying to follow the route they believe this aircraft traveled and the search for this little boy. david, i know you're sticking arrange for the breaking news coverage of it. we showed you the photograph of the earliest picture or image that came into ugs. it's been several hours now. and this quite honestly remains a mystery.
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heartbreaking story as the search continues for this 6-year-old little boy. >> yeah. "hardball" -- as far as a programming note hire for all of our viewers expecting "hardball" at 5:00 eastern time, you will see chris matthews. as there are news updates as tamron said as far as what happened in ft. collins, colorado. if the family comes out and talk, if the police comes out, if there's any news to report, any more indication beyond where things stand now, we will, of course, break in and talk about it and provide extensive coverage. but this has been a very busy news day on a lot of fronts. chris matthews will bring everyone up to speed. but, tamron, we have another minute left here. >> yes. >> your initial impression, final impressions after what we have seen play out today? >> this is unbelievable. when this news first broke that there was a child perhaps trapped in this air balloon, no one could believe it. here we are a couple hours later and you still can't believe there's no conclusion for this family. three sons, one of them at this hour, at this minute missing.


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